Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mid-Year Tax Review

The dog days of summer are a great time to spend a few minutes with your 2014 tax projections to see how the year is stacking up. Are you making as much income as you anticiapted? Are there any unexpected income or expense items? Are you having enough withheld or paid in as estimated tax?

All great questions to be asking yourself now, rather than next April, when it's too late for action. Keep your notes - it makes a last minute look in December all the easier.

While you're reviewing your situation, now is a great time to consider a charitable deduction to the 501(c)(3) charity of your choice. With school just around the corner, so many organizations are gearing up to help those in need as we move into a new school year. Their need for funding extends way beyond the end of the year.

Our office supports these charities, as we're pleased to highlight them now for the great work they perform in the community. 

In San Antonio we support Seton Home. They are a residential facility that provides housing and supportive services for homeless, abused, pregnant and/or parenting teens and their children.

In Austin we support Caritas.  Caritas provides a service continuum for those experiencing poverty that begins with a safety net and links them to resources to achieve self-sufficiency.

Our community has countless other charities that are worthy of your support. This is great time to re-evaluate your tax situation and perhaps make a meaningful contribution to the charity of your choice. 

Have tax questions or need help? Contact tax attorney Martin Cantu

Contact our Austin tax office for a face-to-face consultation.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#IRS Audit Update

Here are a couple of notes from the #IRS audit front lines for the first half of 2014:

1. IRS auditors are focusing on particular industries and work groups, accumulating a lot of data that they can use in other audits in the same industry. 

2.Auditors are more interested than ever in your "monetary lifestyle", and how that lifestyle compares to your stated deductions.

3. IRS auditors are more anxious to close out your case, good or bad, than ever before. 

Lately we've read a lot in the press about the shortcomings of IRS spending on technology and staff. The IRS countered with some great data mining and sharing of information on the local level. For example, here in central and south Texas the IRS is focused on audits of oil field services, drilling operations and landowners in the #EagleFord area. Databases and other informal information on say, oil field truck drivers, is shared among the local audit group. Financial profiles quickly emerge; information on a particular company's reimbursement policy is documented; job profiles emerge;  norm is established.

Auditors are using taxpayer prepared budgets to compare to the taxpayer's prior returns. The auditor then compares the budget expenses with the return expenses, and then with "lifestyle acquisitions" such as cars, boats, or houses, even the number of children in the household.

Finally, auditors are more anxious than ever to close out your cases - good news if you're prepared, not so good if you're not prepared.

Call now if you need help planning for your #IRSaudit. We have offices in Austin and San Antonio and will meet with you personally to discuss your situation. Contact Austin and San Antonio tax attorney Martin Cantu for assistance.